In the wake of their
acclaimed 2007 debut LP, producer pair Rod Modell and Steven Hitchell magnify Liumin‘s techno and house with pervasive
ambient street noise sourced from Tokyo.
The duo garnered universal approval three years ago under the Echospace guise
for the 80 minutes they called The
Coldest Season, an extension and proper compiling of the analog-centric,
dub electronic music the pair had been issuing as twelve inch singles. Since
the release of that album, Modell and Hitchell have ventured down distinctive
side-roads under various pseudonyms, evidently the best possible method for
strengthening and expanding their sound as Echospace.
Liumin isn’t much of a neighbor to The Coldest Season. Although lengthy running time is again a
prominent feature, with tracks breaching the 10-minute mark, the set here
points in the opposite direction of the submerged, tape hiss-rich productions
of a few years back. Instead of “Winter In Seney,” there is “Summer
Haze,” “Firefly,” and plainly, “Warm.” The album
captivates in its own manner, with disarming night music that sometimes rattles
thunderously before it seeps into the subsequent track. Street chatter and
train stop announcements are either front and center of Liumin‘s compositions or in segues, materializing if only just for
a moment. The Echospace back catalog might be here in shades, as well as
labelmate Claro Intelecto’s Warehouse
Sessions are, but The Coldest Season feels like it was sequenced approximately planet systems away from this
ethereal cityscape, where bustling traffic and subway doors are such a
significant part of the presentation (indeed, a bonus CD hosts the field
recordings in full).
When the segue pieces
dissolve, Modell and Hitchell have us to themselves again, where they’ll soften
the hulking thud of “BCN Dub” with adjacent clamor and decimated
brass that sounds as if someone is playing sax in front of his apartment
window, three avenues away. “Burnt Sage” is a murky ride, with layers
of nearby commuter activity blended practically into a roar against soothing
drones and rhythm. It’s like listening to beautiful, provocative dance music on
a faulty pair of sound-canceling headphones.
Standout Tracks: “BCN Dub,” “In Echospace” DOMINIC UMILE